Shimla: The hill capital faced with perpetual drinking water shortages, made worse by the badly executed Rs 75 crore recent Giri water scheme, has the state unit of Communist Party of India Marxist hail the vigilance department decision to register a FIR about using of sub-standard pipes, and alleged corruption in the project.
Sanjay Chauhan and Tikender Panwar , the former Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the city who after 5 years demitted office only last month at a conference said that after inspection of the Giri Water Scheme was handed over to Shimla MC in July 2016.
The duo claimed that they were instrumental into holding of an enquiry into the Giri water scheme after a project visit in the month of March 2016.
“Large scale irregularities, sub-standard material being used and a strong nexus in between the contractors and the officials was prima facie evident during this visit,” said Tikender Panwar.
Chauhan and Panwar said that this eventually led to the registration of an FIR against the engineers and officials of the Irrigation and Public Health department who were responsible for executing the important water supply scheme.
The CPIM believes that some politicians from both BJP and Congress may be involved into this faulty scheme which has used sub-standard material because of the implied reasons as the scheme was conceived and partly executed during Congress government term till 2007 and later by the BJP who were there till 2008 when the scheme was made operational.
The scheme designed to lift 2 crore litres per day (20 MLD) but was pumping only 80 lakh litres per day (8 MLD), the rest was being wasted due to massive leakages in the poor quality pipes used.
“During the visit local workmen and people living in the vicinity of the pipeline told us that on the very first day many pipes had burst. Since that day there has been a cover-up and clandestine nexus to repair the pipes for the which the contractors have been raining highly inflated bills,” said Chauhan. “It is surprising that instead of taking prompt action against the contractors the government defended them,” he added.
The new pipes that were laid in 2008 and had a 30 year life, gave way on the first day of operation. Repair of damaged pipes, raising of heavy bills and the scheme only working at 40% of capacity continued till 2016, after which IPH handed control of its operations to Shimla Municipal Corporation.
The municipal authorities replacing a stretch of 2 km of rusted pipes in 9 months that cost Rs 4 crore. After replacing pipes in the 2 Km stretch there is no leakage in the water lifting stage, said Panwar. The scheme was now supplying 20 MLD, he added.
CPIM has alleged that the total loss to the city and its residents was to the tune of Rs 75 crores whereas a repair cost of Rs 4 crores has salvaged the scheme. This was deliberately not done owing to nexus in between the contractors-officials-politicians, the party alleges
Not just that, the entire pipe line of Gumma to Ridge, Ashwani Khad to Kasumpti was also being replaced which earlier had not been considered, Chauhan and Panwar stated.
Mohan Verma is a seasoned journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for news agencies and fast paced online media.